My name is Paulo, I am a journalism student from Buenos Aires. I would like to know, if you are still at the Axel Hotel, if I can interview you for an article that I have to write to qualifiy. Qualifing or not, isn´t that important but I need a good story and I think that I found one. I would like to meet you to chat. I am not gay, I hope that doesn´t matter.
If you are interested, tell me how to contact you. Sorry for my bad english, I haven´t practiced for years.
How to have gay vacation sex
[Although our schedules did not permit a meeting, in subsequent messages, Paulo made clear his curiosity about gay tourists in Buenos Aires. He wished to tag along with us for a night of doing what gay tourists do when they go out looking for fun and sex in BA.]
Sorry we couldn't meet, but your questions seemed to target the thoughts that are surfing the big ones in my head as I observe the sexual habits of tourists at a gay hotel in a big city. In the course of our time here in Buenos Aires, I think I have seen almost every available variation of tourist-sex. Let me list a few before I assess them:
- There are the gay guys who travel in packs of three or four and double up in rooms, but do not have sex with each other. Some go out to the mega clubs such as Buenos Aires' famous Amerika, or to cruisey bars such as Glam. Some spend more time by the hotel pool. Others are energetic tourists who tire themselves out during daylight. It is visually clear at the hotel breakfast (around noon) who has been where and done what. This group tends to have the least amount of vacation sex. One major inhibition is the fact that you can't conveniently bring a trick back to your room if your traveling companion is asleep in the adjacent bed.
Although, once in South Beach, many years ago, I was brought back to the hotel room of a Venezuelan who picked me up at a disco called Warsaw or Kiev or something like that. When we entered his room at The Raleigh, I was surprised to find that it contained three beds, two of which were occupied by his traveling companions. All three were cute in that Venezuelan way that has produced so many world pageant finalists, and none seemed shy about the fact that I was bouncing around on bed #3 while the guy in bed #2 watched TV and the guy in bed #1 read a magazine. Also, after a half hour in bed #1, the guy in bed #2 crossmattressularly crashed our event. Guy #1 finished up and pushed us over to bed#2 so he could get some sleep. After I had been sufficiently tempestuous in bed #2, like Goldilocks did I sense my story-lined responsibility to sample bed #3. Such was the stuff of international diplomacy as practiced in the pre-Bush era.
- There are the couples that opt for a more Marx Brotherly approach to vacation sex. While one is lounging by the pool, the other one has sauntered into the steam room to get frisky with the burly German who has been eyeing him for two days. While one is in their room napping, the other one is doing the assistant manager named Alejandro in a concierge closet on another floor. You get the idea. In some cases, each knows what the other is doing and they compare notes, but in some cases, they are actually "cheating" on each other. At the end of their stay, when each buys the Hotel Axel t shirt, he will wear it back home with singular wistful memories. Also, there are other couples who have sex together with other visitors and with the overwhelmingly available locals.
These have perfected the "three-legged" race and end up with shared memories, fewer arguments and no trips to the police station to extricate one of them from some predicament. The art of the threesome is a difficult discipline when practiced domestically, but can be dangerous when practiced on vacation. In the room next to ours, a celebrity spa-owner and his 24 year-old companion, inspired by our breakfast account of a previous night at Zoom, decided to pick up a local lad for the night. Unfortunately, they negotiated this at the end of a long night of drinking. We happened to be in the lobby at 4AM when they nearly crashed a car through the sliding glass wall that leads to the sidewalk. The staff at the desk patiently helped them with the parking. They managed to get their trick up to the rooftop pool area where the spa-owner slipped on the tile in the shower area and cut his lip, necessitating a trip to a "hospital" where several stitches were made in extremely seedy circumstances, and where several hundred dollars changed hands. Also, they had assumed wrongly that their trick was a hustler and had given him a large amount of cash. The fine (and gorgeous) lad appeared the next day (while they were telling me all this by the pool) to give them back their money and to make sure they were safely on the mend.
- There is the solo tourist who goes out to any number of clubs or bars or sex clubs or cruisey urban street corners where he deftly manages the having of sex without repercussions and without violating the security of his passport wisely locked in the in-room safe. These sensible men use their heads, practice safer sex and are savvy travelers. They are the chameleon-tourists who blend in so well, you'd hardly guess they were from Minneapolis until after meeting them in the back room of a venue designed for sex you say "Gracias" and they respond "That was hot. Where you from?" and you try to hide your disappointment that what you thought was an authentic Argentinian turns out to be a hairdresser from the Mall of America.
- There are also the gay tourists who pay for sex. A New York friend of ours, a flight attendant, told us that in Buenos Aires, this is quite common almost to the point of respectability. Its frequency may have something to do with the pricing. A rent boy in this city gets 75 pesos which is less than 25 US dollars. The same lad might earn several hundred US dollars in New York if the ads on rentboy.com are to be believed. (C and I have never paid for sex, so I really cannot verify any of this.) Our friend says that if his layover in BA is tightly scheduled, he finds the 75 peso boys to be a fine convenience.
In the course of our stay in BA, we have seen several of them arrive to service the clients who had ordered them up like Chinese food delivery on the Upper West Side. They were all extremely handsome and wholesome looking. In one case, a frightening guest (think Jabba the Hut, only worse) hired one for several days running. This enterprising fellow chatted us up at the pool, explaining that his host had passed out drunk in his room, leaving him with some time to wander about the hotel unsupervised and looking for supplementary lucrative adventure. Our thoughts about all of this are conflicted. While we are personally disinterested in sex with anyone who is doing it just for the money, we make no moral judgment about the entrepreneurial chutzpah of such a one (I myself wish I had sold it instead of giving it away when I was in my early twenties. I could have retired so much earlier.)
Some men (such as Jabba) have no other alternative. For them, vacation sex may be a compromise and relief from loneliness. They have perhaps no love in their life. No intimacy. They are perhaps closeted and restricted by their professions and their public profiles. They take an eleven hour flight, check into a hotel room and are prepared to shell out cash for an approximation of what they are missing in "real life". Holding a rent boy against the imprisonment of his own skin provides such a man with a momentary respite from all that is wrong with his life. This is the sad and pitiful type of gay tourist sex, but it must be fairly common, for there isn't a city in the world that does not advertise and provide this service with efficiency and expedience, and if you think about it for a while, you may be able to see its value.
I think good vacation sex ought to be safe and responsible. I think it ought to be exotic (Why come to Buenos Aires to eat a Big Mac?) I think it ought to be respectful of the local men who involve themselves in your vacation. You, the tourist, ought to treat them less as objects or monumental attractions, and more as individuals with names and professions and aspirations. You ought to handle the issues of personal wealth with great care. Tourists always seem rich because they are spending money on luxuries that they would ordinarily not allow themselves. The economic differences between the sex-seeking tourist and the foreigner-seeking local must be negotiated with great attention, and the language barrier does make this any easier.
Finally, I think that the sex one has on vacation can either enhance or threaten your personal relationship. Don't be reckless. Talk it out ahead of time with the same care that goes into packing your suitcase. Is there anything worse than vacationing partners ruining a good time with bitter squabbling about someone named Juan with last name unknown? I think it is wise to prepare for a vacation, whether it be with a partner, friends or solo, by setting out expectations, boundaries and cautions and by putting yourself into the proper frame of mind to enjoy the local flora and fauna without trampling them and without a visit to a police station or a 24 hour clinic. Do your homework. Be sensible and reasonably sober. Remember that your Argentinian sex object is a human being whom you may never see again, but who will judge Americans by your behavior.